KEY BISCAYNE, Florida – Maria Sharapova benefited from a chair umpire’s disputed overrule on the final point in edging Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the Sony Ericsson Open semifinals Thursday.
At 40-30 in the final game, Sharapova hit a second serve that the linesman called long, which would have been a double fault, but the umpire immediately reversed the ruling and ordered the point replayed.
The call couldn’t be reviewed because Wozniacki had no challenges left, although TV replays showed the umpire was correct to overrule.
Sharapova was awarded two serves and took advantage with a big first serve to set up an overhead winner for the victory.
An angry Wozniacki declined to shake the umpire’s hand and had words with him as she walked to the exit.
Victoria Azarenka’s 26-match unbeaten streak across the first three months of the year was ended Wednesday by Marion Bartoli, who beat the world No. 1 in straight sets in the quarterfinals.
Azarenka’s streak, which included her Australian Open title, was the best on the women’s tour since Martina Hingis went 37-0 to begin 1997.
Bartoli’s semifinal opponent will be Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat a tired Venus Williams 6-4, 6-1.
In the men’s quarterfinals, No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal continued his bid for his first Key Biscayne title by edging No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
Nadal’s semifinal opponent will be 2009 champion Andy Murray, who overcame an upset stomach and early deficit to beat No. 9-seeded Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Azarenka’d unreliable serve and atypical mistakes from the baseline doomed her against Bartoli.
“I’m a human, not a superwoman, and I wish I could be, but I’m not,” Azarenka said with a smile. “I feel disappointed, sure. Who wouldn’t be after the loss? But what I’ve done in the last couple of months, I have to be really proud of myself.”
The steady Bartoli took charge of rallies by playing inside the baseline.
“Sometimes I took the ball extremely early,” she said. “It was almost table tennis.”
Seeded No. 7, Bartoli advanced to the Key Biscayne semifinals for the second time in three years.
Williams was weary after winning three consecutive three-set matches in her comeback tournament.
“It was disappointing not to be able to feel my best today,” Williams said.
It was her first tournament since the US Open last August, where she withdrew after being diagnosed with a fatigue-causing autoimmune disease. — Agencies